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Hamas and Fatah-Equally Guilty

GS Don Morris, Ph.D.
July 11, 2006

The headline read: Gaza family's tragedy shows desperate plight of residents. The story began with Pinned down by an Israeli military offensive, the Hajaj family was whiling away the time drinking tea and roasting corn in the backyard when disaster struck-a missile slammed into the group, killing 46 year old Amna Hajaj and two of her 15 children. Inscription under the accompanying photo relatives mourn at the funeral for three members of the Hajaj family in Gaza city on Sunday-photo has two older unidentified women holding the distraught, stunned face of an unidentified lady. The story that followed was predictable. (1)

The next paragraph indicated that the Palestinians blamed Israel for the latest casualties and accused Israel of firing at the innocents living in a house. The facts later demonstrated that once again the Palestinians misfired and killed their own people. It seems that a Palestinian anti-tank missile inadvertently hit the house. However, rest assured that these tragic deaths did go down on the tally sheet as deaths caused by Israel and will be used as evidence that Israel targets civilians. Furthermore, no correction will ever be provided the western media nor to the Palestinian people. They will go on thinking how savage are the Israelis!

As of this writing, nearly 60 Palestinians have been killed in the two-week plus military campaign. Only part of this story is making it to the homes in America. Once again Israel is being accused of everything from collectively punishing the Palestinian population, using disproportionate response and violating the Geneva Convention. The mantra continues and was predictable-the Palestinian strategy has not changed in years. It plays the victim card as soon as Israel responds to their terrorist behavior. The media is fed incomplete data, or data is with held intentionally or the data is fabricated. Context is invariably ignored and media consumers are left with a dishonest presentation of events and situations.

If one did not know better you might actually believe that Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, PA leader is a moderate and that the evil ones are Hamas. This is not an accurate representation of facts. Clearly, the Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is considered ruthless, dangerous and disingenuous when it comes to his vision of Israel and the Western world. He is a holocaust denier and a verified anti-semite to suggest two of his characteristics. The Western leaders have gone on the record indicting how dangerous this man is. Well, Mr. Abbas wrote his doctoral dissertation denying the holocaust, was Arafat's second in command during the last intifada that saw thousands of Israeli citizens murdered and/or wounded; yet, some believe he is a moderate? A group belonging to PA Chairman Abbas' Fatah Party announced July 10,2006 that it has created a female homicide hit group of some 100 women. The Aksa Martyrs Brigades, the armed wing of Fatah additionally continues to attack Israel with homicide bombers during the last two weeks-all were caught before causing any death and destruction. There is no such thing as a moderate Palestinian leader in any position of authority at this time and it is well past time that this truth be understood. Hamas is simply the headline leader today; Fatah is nothing less than Hamas' behavioral shadow.

Hamas and Fatah have been and are currently in violation of the Geneva Convention. Remember the following historical context of these conventions (2):

The Geneva Conventions consist of treaties formulated in Geneva, Switzerland that set the standards of international law for humanitarian concerns. The conventions were the results of efforts by Henri Dunant (1862), who was motivated by the horrors of war he witnessed at the Battle of Solferino (1859). The conventions, their agreements and two added protocols are as follows: First Geneva convention (1864) Treatment of battlefield casualties and creation of International Red Cross Second Geneva Convention (1906) Extended the principles from the first convention to apply also to war at sea. Third Geneva Convention (1929)): Treatment of Prisoners of War. Fourth Geneva Convention (1949)): Treatment relating to the protection of civilians during times of war "in the hands" of an enemy and under any occupation by a foreign power.

Protocol I (1977)-Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts Protocol II (1977) -Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of Non-International Armed Conflicts. In summary, the first three conventions were revised, a fourth was added, and the entire set was ratified in 1949; the whole is referred to as the "Geneva Conventions of 1949" or simply the "Geneva Conventions". Later conferences (Protocols) added the provisions prohibiting certain methods of warfare and addressing issues of civil wars. (3)

The world now has a set of guidelines that are meant to make one of the ugliest human behaviors (war) appear somewhat civilized-rules of war were developed and meant to be followed. This unto itself is ludicrous. The world leaders representing democracies to despotic government claim to act in accordance with these rules and they, together with special interest groups call the same world attention to its violators. Hamas and Fatah are such violator groups!

For example, Article Three of the Fourth Geneva Convention has been consistently violated as innocent Israelis living in the territories have been targeted and murdered by these two terror groups. It has been successfully argued, that inside Israel proper, citizens, technically not protected persons, should be subject to the same interpretation accorded to those living in the territories. Both of these groups have consistently violated Article 44 of protocol I (1977) by placing themselves within civilian populations, using these citizens as human shields, placing armament and combatants inside private and centrally located public buildings thus placing their civilian population at risk. Currently Hamas is in violation of prisoner of war rights accorded to the kidnapped Israeli soldier-again a violation of the Geneva agreements it uses incorrectly against Israel.

These are just a few of the convention violations acted out every day, 24/7, by Hamas and Fatah. Both groups' leaderships have not only as a strategy but also have as a policy actions that daily violate the Geneva agreements-yet the media and the West turn a blind eye to facts on the ground. The result is that the citizens of these countries and/or the readers/viewers of the reports have faulty information upon which to draw astute conclusions. Policy statements are written and actions are taken-all based upon incorrect data. We all know what happens with our personal computers when we enter incorrect data; the answers we want are simply incorrect and wrong. Times, they are a' changing, there are people no longer willing to accept this misdirection of information- accountability begins now!

End Notes

1. Deeb el, Sarah Gaza family's tragedy Shows Desperate Plight of Residents, Jerusalem Post, July 10, 2006.

2. Morris, GS Don, Understanding the Geneva Conventions, posted Scholars for Peace website, 2005.

3. From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laws_of_war

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